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RootMetrics Tests EE 4G Mobile Broadband Speeds in 3 UK Cities

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 (1:40 pm) - Score 1,312

RootMetrics has posted the results from 95,672 separate speedtests of EE’s new 4G (LTE 1800MHz) based Mobile Broadband network in the UK cities of Liverpool, Cardiff and Sheffield. The study found that EE was broadly living up to its promise of delivering internet speeds that range from 8-12Mbps (Megabits per second).

The group claims that this makes EE’s “4GEE” service more than twice as fast as rival 3G networks. In short the mixed average 4G and 3G download speeds recorded in Cardiff came top at 11.8Mbps (94% of downloads completed without fault), while Liverpool followed on a respectable 9.4Mbps (92.9% of downloads completed) and Sheffield just skirted the official claims at 7.9Mbps (93.9% of downloads completed).

However coverage is still a weak spot for EE, though they’re constantly expanding its reach (here), and as a result 4G connectivity could only be achieved 71.3% of the time in Cardiff, 58.7% in Liverpool and 48.7% in Sheffield. EE’s 4G network currently covers around 45% of the UK population, which should reach 55% by summer 2013 and extend to 98% by 2014.

Bill Moore, Rootmetrics President and CEO, said:

EE’s 4G network has lived up to its own promises: speeds are meeting EE’s pledges and indoor performance is reasonably good. At the same time, the technology is more powerful than the bar that has been set, and there should be room for further improvement.

When it comes to availability of EE 4G in city centres, the picture is positive if not universally excellent. We see the percentage of 4G improving in line with other (international) launches, but there are some notable variations like people in Cardiff getting a better service than those in Sheffield, despite paying the same.”

The speeds given above also included times when the signal roamed its way over to a 3G connection (i.e. when the 4G side became unavailable). Thankfully RootMetrics noted that the scores were much more promising when the 3G figures were stripped out to reveal 4G-only data. In this situation Cardiff returned 16.2Mbps and Liverpool hit 14.4Mbps.

As usual any anecdotal speedtests like this should be taken with a pinch of salt but the results are still promising. On the other hand it could mean that EE has very few actual 4G customers. Now we just need EE’s rivals to launch 4G, which should happen around the summer or late spring.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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